Archive for October, 2010

Did she say bum-biting alligators??

October 27, 2010

Well, we’ve decided to give this another go (having a baby that is). And come April 7 (or thereabouts), Baby Blue #2 will join our crazy little household. Hooray!

I’ve set some goals for myself before the newbie’s arrival, and high on that list is having Baby Blue #1 sitting on the “potty chair” while not fully clothed. Yes, the potty chair is of interest to one curly-headed toddler who resides in our household, but I use the term “interest” lightly. Who knew a potty chair could double as a ladder and a paddling pool? Apparently she did.

Conscious of not wanting her to see the potty chair as the enemy, I haven’t forced her to sit on it. But I was excited and amused to find her in the bathroom on the potty chair fully clothed the other evening. At least she isn’t afraid alligators are going to bite her bum from inside the potty before swallowing her whole (I may or may not have harbored such a worry as a young child).

Wish me luck as I endeavor to coach Miss Meghan how to live diaper free. Oh, and wish me luck on raising this little guy or gal (my hunch) debuting this spring. The roller coaster ride continues!

Mom and baby meet Michigan Ave

October 19, 2010

I lived in Chicago for six years and spent three of those years working on the city’s Magnificent Mile. It was an awesome place to work. Shopping and dining options abounded, and I regularly spent my lunch hour window shopping or enjoying the tasty cuisine seemingly available at every corner.

On more than one occasion during those three years, I encountered a tourist and her little girl asking for directions to the American Girl Store. The little girl would be holding tightly on to her mom’s hand working hard to keep from jumping out of her pants. I would happily point them in the direction of Mecca and smile as they walked away. On many more occasions, I found myself behind families making their way back down the street weighed down by the trademark red shopping bags undoubtedly stuffed with a “Kit,” a “Felicity” or perhaps a “Bitty Baby.”

I even made it inside American Girl once during those years to meet my sister who brought by niece to the city to experience the magic of the store (where you can also have tea with your doll seated next to you in a high chair or catch a live show with real girls cast as the famous dolls).

Last week, I was in Chicago visiting a loved one in the hospital just a block away from the Magnificent Mile. My husband offered to take me and my daughter to lunch to get away from the hospital for a bit. We took him up on his offer. The sun was shining on this beautiful day in Chicago, and we decided to take a stroll after our meal. On a whim, we made our way toward American Girl curious to see if our toddler would have any reaction to this special place.

We figured at 19 months, she was way too little to appreciate it, but were curious to see her reaction nonetheless. We walked in the door, and our daughter’s eyes grew big. She smiled as she pointed out “horsies” and “babies” on display. She then broke free and began roaming on her own. Her favorite thing was undoubtedly the strollers on display for customers to try out. She grabbed the handles and maneuvered first a double and then a single stroller like a pro. She was in heaven.

Tears came promptly when we finally picked her up and made our way out the door after spending time taking in the cast of dolls and their many accessories. But I know we will be back. And I am quite excited at the thought of making our way down Michigan Avenue with roles reversed when we are the excited mom and daughter, and I get to witness her experience the magic of American Girl.

Did I miss out? Methinks not…

October 11, 2010

In case you were wondering, if you Google “What to do with my life,” the sixth entry to come up will be a list of 70 Things to Do Before Having Children as proposed by a couple only known as “Marc and Angel.” Curious to see what I may have missed before giving birth to my daughter, I of course clicked on this link.  I have some thoughts in response to Marc and Angel’s list, but seeing as how 70 items is a lot to assess in one post, I thought for today I’d focus on the first ten. So here they are copied verbatim:

  1. Live in a high rise condo with an amazing view.
  2. Take a month long vacation on the opposite side of the world in a city with a completely different culture.
  3. Attend the Super Bowl live.
  4. Jump out of a perfectly good airplane.
  5. Make love in places you aren’t supposed to.
  6. Swim with the sharks.
  7. Scuba-dive to a large ship wreck.
  8. Audition to be on TV or in a movie… even if you’re just an extra.
  9. Throw the house party of all house parties.  Supply all the booze and invite everyone you know.
  10. Take sexy photos of yourself (keep them somewhere safe).

Now dear readers, before I share my comments, I need to remind you that my most devoted reader is my mother, Mary Kay. With that in mind, I’ve intentionally opted to avoid commenting on #5 and #10, cuz really, I just can’t go there knowing she is reading this (hi mom)!

So without further ado, my thoughts:

1. Live in a high rise condo with an amazing view.

I personally have never been one for high rises. I like being able to open my front door and grab the paper while feeling the breeze. I am not a huge fan of heights. And I like a neighborhood feel. But all that aside, why can’t you have a baby in a high rise? Admittedly, carrying a baby and all the associated gear up flights of stairs is less than desirable, but are we to assume that said high rise lacks the modern amenity known as an elevator? Hmmm…

2. Take a month long vacation on the opposite side of the world in a city with a completely different culture.

I did this once in my life. I admit, it was AWESOME. Saw six countries in four weeks with four gals who will forever be part of my innermost circle. BUT I was 22 years old, weeks out of college and unemployed. Since that backpacking excursion of summer 2000, I have (thankfully) been continually employed, but never have I worked anywhere where it would have been encouraged (and probably even permitted) for me to take a month-long vacation. Do many people have this option, childless or otherwise at their place of employment?

3. Attend the Super Bowl live.

I would like to do this. But not with an infant, and probably not with a toddler–that is unless my husband were the MVP of said Super Bowl game, and I was standing next to him while holding our toddler to assist him with the selection of which Caddy he wanted to drive home before filming his “I’m going to Disney World” spot. Even though my husband is very athletic, I think it’s safe to say he won’t be center field with the Super Bowl MVP trophy any time soon. But heck, I’d go to a Super Bowl if the opportunity presented itself. I’d love to take my daughter too if she were a little older to appreciate it. Until then, there is a little something called a babysitter.

4. Jump out of a perfectly good airplane.

There was a time I wanted to do this. I felt the desire strongest after watching professional skydivers plunge from planes above Lake Michigan during the Chicago Air and Water show circa 2002. But within an hour of witnessing that spectacle, the idea was completely off my radar. And now, I have no real desire to do this, and would have to agree with Marc and Angel, in this one instance, that this is something I wouldn’t want to do as a parent–just not worth the risk.

5. Make love in places you aren’t supposed to.

See above. Just can’t go there.

6. Swim with the sharks.

Never had and suspect never will I have any desire to do this before or after kids. Didn’t “Jaws” and “Open Water” terrify anyone else?

7. Scuba-dive to a large ship wreck.

Again, I ask why can’t you do this if you have kids? Heck, take the kids with you. I’m sure they’d love it. And isn’t this junior wet suit so cute?

8. Audition to be on TV or in a movie… even if you’re just an extra.

In Hollywood, it seems parenthood is the new black. Halle Berry. Julia Roberts. Amy Adams. Maggie Gyllenhaal. Reese Witherspoon. Oh just a few up-and-coming Hollywood starlets who are also moms. Apparently these gals, who happen to know a thing or two about show biz, think the roles of mom and actress need not be mutually exclusive. So perhaps neither should we.

9. Throw the house party of all house parties.  Supply all the booze and invite everyone you know.

I once threw a party at my parents’ house when they were out of town. I was 17 years old and made a bad decision. I was so worried the entire time that A.) the police would come B.) someone would steal my mom’s jewelry (turned out they just stole all the wine off the wine rack–yikes!) or C. ) that the house would be trashed, that I didn’t enjoy one minute of the evening. I’m a little older now (and hopefully a little wiser), but I still harbor the worry of both A and C. (I have no jewelry worth stealing so  item B is no longer a concern.) Still, I prefer my parties a little more intimate, and I don’t think parenthood has anything to do with it.

10. Take sexy photos of yourself (keep them somewhere safe).

Again, I don’t really want to go here. And if you know me, you know I hate having my picture taken so photos such as these would never be a reality–with child or without!

As I review this top ten list, I am mentally composing a note to Marc and Angel. It goes something like this… “Dear M and A, Thank you for your thoughts on what to do before taking the parenthood plunge. However, I suspect you don’t yet have kids. I fully admit that when you are a parent you’re limited in time and admittedly energy so that many of the things on your list aren’t as easily doable–but you certainly can do them. There are such things as babysitters. And judging by the number of flights I’ve been on in my life where a child (sometimes my own) has been screaming, I can tell you plenty of people are traveling with kids and not just to Disney World…”

I’ve found that having my daughter with us as we take on life’s adventures adds a whole new dimension to our experience, and I mean that in a good way.

So to those of you who, like me, were slightly disheartened to see this list, my advice is to instead make a list of things that having kids enables or encourages you to do (e.g. visit the zoo, go on a hayride, swim with the dolphins, touch a baby piglet). In my experience the list will be many times longer  than Marc and Angel’s.

Good luck!

Content for now

October 1, 2010

As a working parent, I admit that I experience a lot of guilt and, yes, even sadness that I am unable to spend as much time as I would like with my daughter. It is on my mind every single day. Yes, I realize that I’m not leaving my daughter in the care of others so I can pop bonbons while getting a massage. By working outside the home, I am helping to provide for my family, which I feel is certainly a noble enough reason to leave her.

Still, my heart gets heavy at various times. I am fortunate to work in an office situated in the heart of a bustling downtown area. I love the location. But it does give me ample opportunity to see moms at play with their kids in the park or moms getting in exercise (a foreign concept to me) while walking their little ones. I admit that from time to time, I wish I was out there with my daughter too. Facebook plays a part in my guilt as well as I see friends and family members doing fun things with their children and posting the resulting photos while I am behind my desk at work.

Believe me when I say I’ve read a lot on the topic of working versus staying at home with children. I know I am not doing any damage to my child. But I do wish I could see her more. Period. Thank God she is happy where she is, and we are so fortunate to have wonderful, trustworthy childcare lined up.

Still, I wonder…

But today, as I dropped my daughter of at school (aka daycare), she didn’t cry like she often does when we walked in. She walked with purpose toward the book shelf and began to play with toys. She, who is generally pretty shy, even initiated a conversation with her teacher and took me around the room to show me all the cool stuff with which she plays. As she wandered, I chatted with her teacher. I can’t get enough info from her and the other teachers on how Meghan does at school, what her favorite activities are, how she interacts with the other kids, how she naps, and the like. I could pump them for details for hours. In fact, since my husband does pickup, I make him share every detail. I call him promptly at 4 p.m. to learn what she was doing when he first came upon her, how she reacted to seeing him, what her teachers said, what activities she enjoyed that day, etc.

So as I talked to Miss Kelly this morning while Meghan got settled in, I began my usual line of questioning. It never ceases to amaze me that my energetic (okay…wild) daughter promptly and obediently walks to her cot and curls up to go to sleep when the teacher says the words “nap time.” No complaints, no dawdling. She just goes. Whose kid is this? Certainly not the one I put down for a nap at home! Miss Kelly went on to talk about how Meghan likes to curl up with her in her lap, how Meghan chats about kicking balls, and how Meghan enjoys interacting with the twin boys in her class.

As I left the school this morning, Meghan didn’t cry (a rarity). And I felt proud–and yes content– to know she is so well behaved, interacting with other kids her age and taking advantage of the many activities offered. And for much of this morning, I have felt good about her being where she is. I know come Monday, I will wake up with a small pit in my stomach that our weekend together has come to an end. I know I will be sad to leave her in someone else’s care for yet five more work days. But for today, for this moment anyway, I am happy she is where she is.